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Old 01-29-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
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min depth for fiber optic cable underground?

Gotta question for all the experts here: I've got a communications company coming to "install" fiber optic service to my house. I say "install" because they try to get away with anything & everything. I've seen their kind of work in the past, and it really upsets me (to put it nicely). Yesterday, they came to my house to run the fiber from the curb to the side of my house, and refused to cut through an old (dead) tree root. They buried the fiber only 2" below the surface in that spot, and said I should be careful digging there.

Isn't there a minimum depth these things have to be buried? I thought it was 24". For what it's worth, the fiber cable is armored, but I still don't like the idea of it being buried only 2". Hoping the NEC will give me some ammunition here.


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Old 01-29-2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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The NEC actually only requires 18in for direct burial, since fiber optic (i assume) would fall under the category of Network-Powered Broadband Communication System, you need to look at article 830 specifically 830.47.

If this is the service provider installing a line to your house, it is their line up to the tap inside your house. Utility companies, I'm assuming its not just power companies, are bound by the NEC like everyone else is when working on their own equipment. You may want to call them and report how it was installed,and they may come out and fix it, or report it to the city as they may have some requirements that installs have to meet. You could just go out there and hack it with a shovel every couple weeks and have them replace it over and over again until they do it right.


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Old 01-29-2009, 08:36 PM   #3
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Let me guess, a Verizon Contractor did the job? If you can dig it out without damaging, I would try to run in conduit, due to if you cut Fiber, you can kiss it goodbye, until you can get the Telco to come out and either replace or fix the line.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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They are, and right now, Verizon has to go around Florida, and elsewhere to fix the mistakes that their contractors did with the Fios installs. Including crap like this.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:21 PM   #5
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My guess is that they can bury it any depth they want. There is no risk to life, or electrical value in the optic fiber so they would have to replace it if damaged. In my neighborhood phone lines are typically buried superficially and there is a much greater chance of being jolted there with copper lines. And yes, Verizon does the work here too (or their installation contractors)
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:32 AM   #6
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Those utility grade fiber cables are stronger than you think.

At my old place of employment someone hit the pole and the pole was hanging by the fiber optic cable, it was supporting the entire weight of the pole. It did just fine. They didn't even need to replace it, that fiber is still in service.


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